Formula 1 veteran Kimi Raikkonen is in the midst of an amazing season (second place in the standings with a win and five second-place finishes), and the impending free agent deserves a spot to race once again for Team Ferrari in 2014.
For those that forgot or never knew, Raikkonen drove for Ferrari from 2007-2009—won the Formula 1 Championship in 2007 and finished third in 2008—before jumping to the World Rally Championship after a sixth-place finish in the standings in 2009.
Raikkonen rejoined F-1 with the Lotus Team in 2012 after trying the NASCAR circuit the year prior and found instant success again by finishing the year in third place overall.
With the veteran putting together an even more impressive season this year, the hype around the talented driver is through the roof.
Add in the fact that his contract with Lotus is up after the conclusion of the season and Team Red Bull has reportedly filled the other seat Mark Webber is currently keeping warm, per Jonathan Noble of AutoSport.com, and the return to Ferrari makes too much sense not to come to fruition.
Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson told BBC Sport’s Andrew Benson about the driver’s status with team Red Bull, but would not confirm any impending deal with Ferrari:
Talks broke down. We haven't spoken for a little while and it's clear Kimi won't be driving for Red Bull in 2014. Kimi’s a free agent. He still has options out there. There’s a lot of things happening behind the scenes and I'm pretty confident he will be in F1 next year…Until [Ferrari] confirm their seats, my job is to speak to all the teams and see what's available.
Team Ferrari was rumored to be losing Fernando Alonso to Team Red Bull, but there is still a chance that the veteran leaves the team even if the Red Bull job is reportedly filled by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, according to the BBC’s Eddie Jordan.
Alonso is a megastar in the sport. Ferrari will not want to take a blow to the program that serious this offseason and signing Raikkonen to fill that void would be the perfect answer to the problem.
Not only would the Finnish star be a viable replacement for Alonso on and off the track, but there are also many around the sport that feel Raikkonen is the better overall driver and would be a better fit for the team.
If Ferrari keeps Alonso and adds Raikkonen as well, the team will be amazing.
Raikkonen deserves the honor of being the face of the Ferrari program. With the right setups and equipment, there is little doubt that he could bring a championship back to the elite team and challenge Sebastian Vettel’s reign of dominance.